Thursday, August 6, 2015
Learning to Quilt, From Mother to Daughter to Intern
Kay, her mother, and I all share an affinity for handmade things, and an interest in the domestic. From Kay, I learned that her mother taught her the Italian quilting technique called trapunto sewing, which she in turn taught to me. Sewing and quilting is an integral part of Kay's process - she manages to create a kind of quilt-image hybrid with each piece. All of the "stuffies" as Kay calls them, are inspired by objects belonging to real people whom Kay has interviewed. For Lost and Found, the project to which many of the stuffies I sewed belong, each one was an object that an interviewee had lost. Here are some of the pieces that I sewed while I was learning to trapunto,
From left, clockwise: Frank's Coffee Percolator, Kay's Onion Plate, and a Reel to Reel. The images are first screen printed on fabric, and then sewn and stuffed.
In a basic pillow sewing technique, the fabric with the image is turned inside out and a backing is sewn on, with an opening left to turn the pillow inside out.
Once the pillow is stuffed, the hole is closed up and the object is stitched through on the sewing machine from back to front, along the contours of the object's details. For instance, the television and the car (projects I conquered once I was more skilled in the "stuffie" creation process) are given puffy quilt-like dimension by the stitching around the edges of the screen and knobs, along the windows and wheels and along the plane edges of the car.